Tips From the Team

Here are some great tips for working with metal clay, from members of the Etsy MetalClay Team…

From Glenda J. Camara-Skarie (AdoriLargento): use a double-pointed compass or divider to make ring bands and earrings. For the ring band it is very easy to change the width of it. For the earrings it will make a duplicate every time.

Team members Liad Wischnia-Nemeth (ByLiad), Anna Siivonen(Annasiivonen) and Joy Funnell (JoyFunnellEtsy) all recommend using baby wipes to remove small cracks, smooth clay, wipe away dust and clean tools. Joy says she loves them! She uses a sharp craft knife to remove any excess clay from edges and then cleans up the edges with the wipes. It gives her the smooth edges that she likes. She adds that the wipes can be recycled to reclaim the silver, or just rinsed out in a glass of water so the silver settles to the bottom to be recovered. Also, Joy says if she gets briefly interrupted while working, she simply covers her clay with a wet wipe and it keeps just fine!

Zoe Nelson (ZoeNelson) recommends: roll leftover clay into a ball and store it in plastic wrap. It won't dry out as fast as a lump because it has a smaller surface area.

Karen West (EggToothOriginals) shared this tip: I like to use Aura 22 Gold to dress up fine silver PMC3 once in awhile. I had mixed results using the kiln only to fire it.  Here's what I do now for great results: Follow kiln firing directions. Once pieces are cooled, remove them from the kiln. Working with one piece at a time, heat them with a butane torch just until the piece glows red. Remove torch. While the piece is still hot, grab it with cross-locking tweezers and burnish the gold using an agate burnisher. Follow with brushing, tumbling or whatever you would normally do to burnish the rest of the piece.

Liz Hall (LizardsJewelry) suggests: I keep a candle handy in my cutting blade cup to run my blades across—keeps the clay from sticking and it’s much easier/quicker to do a quick swipe than lubing it up with some other product. Plus it doesn't seem to mess with the clay like some anti stick products do.

From Christine Street Gregg (ChocolateAndSteel) we have this tip: have lots of toothpicks handy. They are good for setting stones, for poking holes, adding Black Max to small areas, setting resin and drying bails around.

One of my (EvelynPelati) favorite tips is for when I need to cut a shape centered within a shape. If I’m using tempates that are flat, I always cut out the inner shape first. Then I center the outer shape over it and cut. Visually it’s easier to center this way.  If I’m using high-walled cutters, like tubes—I take the outer shape and make a light impression in the clay. Then I cut my center shape in the middle of it. Then I cut the outer shape using my impressed guideline. I do this because I can’t see through the cutters to cut the way I described previously. And, if I cut out the outer shape all the way through first, the outer shape can become distorted when cutting the inner shape.

Last, we have a fantastic “bonus tip” from team member Catherine Witherell (HappyDayArt)! Catherine has written a tutorial about how to make custom cookie cutters for making uniform cut-out bead caps. Don’t miss this valuable lesson! Click this link or scroll down to the next blog post.

Thank you to all the team members who generously shared their knowledge with us.

~ Evelyn Pelati

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